Following the news earlier this week that all charges have been dropped against Jussie Smollett in what authorities have described as a faked hate crime, the political and police establishment in Chicago have been extremely vocal about their disapproval of the situation.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke earlier this week about wanting to sue Smollett, and now he says that the actor will receive a bill for the time incurred while investigating him.
Emanuel, per Twitter, told WGN Radio Thursday that police are “finalizing the cost” of what was incurred as a result of their investigation of the case and will be sending Smollett a bill. Emanuel did not hint at a dollar figure but did indicate that it was much more than the $10,000 bond that Smollett forfeited.
The mayor, who is leaving office soon, also asked President Trump, who tweeted about the case Thursday morning and promised a Justice Department probe, to “stay out of” the case, while also citing “the toxic environment that Donald Trump created.”
Emanuel also said that a city attorney said that Smollett agreeing to perform community service could be construed as an admission of guilt.
It is not customary, in American law enforcement tradition, for those accused of crimes to be billed for the time police spent investigating them, especially when, such as in Smollett’s case, the charges were dropped and no conviction was obtained. The city would likely have to sue Smollett if they were to collect any money from him, but that’s far from a sure thing, either.
Many on social media have also pointed out how often Chicago has had to pay out huge amounts of money in connection with police misconduct during Emanuel’s time as mayor, including the $16 million paid out to an innocent bystander gunned down by a police officer in 2015, per USA Today.
Mayor Emanuel on @WGNRadio right now says the City of Chicago will send a bill to Jussie Smollett for the cost of investigating the case. This follows the surprise dismissal of charges against Smollett for filing a false police report. pic.twitter.com/BsLE3D4pAn— Steve Grzanich (@SteveGrzanich) March 28, 2019
Meanwhile, per Law 360, a bill has been introduced in the Illinois legislature by Chicago Republican Michael McAuliffe that would deny a production tax credit to Empire or to any other production in the state that hires Smollett. However, Samuel D. Brunson, a law professor at Loyola University in Chicago, believes that such a law is likely unconstitutional.
“The Constitution forbids states from enacting bills of attainder, which are basically legislative bills meant to punish wrongdoing without a trial,” the professor told Law 360. “This bill is clearly meant to punish Smollett, where the state’s attorney declined to prosecute. And the Supreme Court includes preventing employment in its definition of ‘punishment.'”